One of the larger innovations in cremation jewelry memorialization happened in 2001, when a company called LifeGem started offering the ability to turn ashes into diamonds. Given how diamonds are made (no, not by superman crushing a lump of coal in his hands) this represented a huge technological leap forward in both diamond making and memorialization options.
Traditional lab-grown diamonds are made using carbon and a machine called carbon vapor deposition machine (or CVD for short). This allows those companies to grow multiple lab-grown diamonds at once.
For the memorial diamond industry to take off, two things needed to happen:
- First, you needed a way to extract any remaining carbon from cremated remains to create the diamond from.
- Second, you needed a machine that would grow diamonds one at a time to create a highly personalized diamond containing the remains of someone’s loved one.
In this case, the second point came first. HPHT machines –– short for high pressure high temperature machines –– already exist. These machines allow you to grow one diamond at a time, which is economical for regular lab-grown diamond producers, but is perfect for memorial diamond companies.
The harder part for memorial diamond companies was extracting the carbon from ashes. Cremated remains contain 1-4% carbon –– and the ashes must go through an additional high pressure, high temperature, no oxygen environment in order to isolate the remaining carbon from the remains.
Most memorial diamond companies ask for about half a cup of ashes to extract enough carbon to grow a diamond. Recent advances in technology have also allowed diamonds to be made from hair.
Once that technology was built out in the 90s, memorial diamonds could be brought to market. Yet, the capital intensive process of making a diamond from cremation ash (roughly $1 million dollars in equipment alone) means only a few companies offer this service.
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Here's a review of the top five companies in the memorial diamond space.
Eterneva, located in Austin, Texas, is one of the newest players in the space. Founded in 2017, they recently moved production of the memorial diamonds in-house to a South Austin facility, where they invite customers who want to place their loved one’s ashes in the machine.
One of the more unique aspects of this company is that they have designed an entire grief wellness journey around the process. Memorial diamonds typically take anywhere from 7-10 months from start to finish. This includes the purification process, diamond growth, diamond cutting, and coloration.
During that time, Eterneva sends videos and photo updates every single month of where your loved one is in the process, encourages you to set up legacy projects in their honor (and will give you ideas by showing you what others have done), and focuses on the life that your loved one lived, not the way they died.
Eterneva diamond prices start at $2,900 and increase from there. Several colors and cuts are available. They make diamonds from both cremated remains and hair. They are a member of the Cremation Association of North America.
LifeGem is a US based company headquartered in Elk Grove Village, Illinois. LifeGem was the very first memorial diamond company, first launching in 2001. They remained the only manufacturer based in the US for 17 years –– when Eterneva was founded.
LifeGem asks for a cup of cremation ash to make their diamonds, and will have your diamond ready in 6-10 months. You can find them in 3,500 funeral homes in the US, representing about 15% of the total market.
A .25 carat clear diamond would run you $3,499. Prices do vary slightly based on diamond color. They also offer discounts for multiple purchases of around 5-10%.
This Swiss-based company was founded in 2004 and has offices in both the United States and Switzerland. The name is based on the Rhaeto-Romanic word meaning remembrance. They are a member of the Swiss Association of Funeral Services and offer pre-planning services.
The name of their US side of the company is MyMemorialDiamond.
They ask for one pound of cremation ash to be submitted and generally deliver between 6-10 months. Prices start at $3,799 for a .25 Carat Diamond made from hair, and $4,399 for a .25 carat diamond made from cremated remains.
Located in the UK, this company was founded in 2005 and now sells internationally, including in the US, and may be the most international facing of the companies reviewed here.
They ask for half a pound of cremation ash to make one diamond. They also accept hair (a locket would do since hair has much more carbon per weight.)
A clear cut .25 carat diamond is priced at $2395 and they offer several cuts and colors. They also offer a range of settings for your memorial diamond, which is unique among the companies reviewed.
While this cremation diamond company is located in the UK, they do have an office in Georgia with US based representatives.
Also located in Switzerland, the name 'Lonite' originates from the Swiss French 'Longevite' which translates to “longevity” in English. Founded shortly after Algordanza, this company sells their memorial diamonds in Europe and the US with US office located in Buffalo, NY.
They focus more on providing cremation diamonds that are certified and pure than the other companies on this page, and have several gemology certifications. They ask for about 1 cup of cremation ashes and delivery in about 6 months. A .25 clear diamond starts at $2400 and increases from there. Several colors and cuts are available.
Georgia (US) based Saint Diamond was founded in 2013 by Bernard Orlo.
Much like Lonite, their marketing is focused on providing cremation diamonds that are certified and pure and have several gemology certifications. They also have an extensive section talking about their process and their quality control.
They ask for about 1 cup of cremation ashes and delivery in about 2 months. A .25 clear diamond starts at $1249 and increases from there. Several colors and cuts are available. They are the most affordable and quickest option on this page.
For more information about creating memorial diamonds, we've partnered with Eterneva because of their grief journey and commitment to transparency across the entire process. They are also right down the road from us here in Austin!
Spirit Pieces Memorials